Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bimbling Around Bumble Hole

Early this morning, we decided to take a chance on the weather to visit "Bumble Hole", in Netherton, a local nature reserve where the annual Waterways Festival was taking place. 

Isn't Bumble Hole the most fantastic name?!

Here's a little bit about the history of this place quoted directly from Dudley Metropolitan Borough's website:

"All of this quiet greenery was once covered with industrial action, a hub of horses and workers. Factories, boat yards, coal mines, blast furnaces, iron works, timber yards, brick kilns and saw mills occupied the open spaces. There are many hidden clues and visible signs in Cobbs engine house, Timbers Gallows Crane and the Blow Cold Bank Colliery Spoil Heap. The canal basin once served for continual boat traffic ferrying coal from the pits. The exiting boats were then subject to a payment toll, at a toll island, dependant on the weight of their load. The island is all that remains of this old system. Timber Gallows crane is of a very rare design, it is thought to be the last of its kind in the country and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The crane was in working order up till the 1970’s and is currently awaiting restoration. During this date the owner estimated the crane could have lifted 20 tonnes in weight. Cobbs engine house, officially know as Windmill End Pumping station, used to remove water from local mines. The shaft was 525 feet deep, removing over 1,600,000 litres of water into the canal every day. There are many historical bridges, land marks and the breath taking scenery here, making this area perfect for artists, recreational users and for enjoying the piece and quiet."

The stallholders were just setting up when we arrived at around 9.30; their relatively late start obviously dictated by the appalling forecast.  Although at around 8am this morning we had beautiful clear blue skies and sunshine, by the time we got there the clouds were beginning to gather and we were fully expecting a downpour.   Luckily, however, the rain kept off for long enough for us to have a look around.   The festival was a little disappointing I'm afraid.  I think the weather had kept many stallholders and public away which was a great shame as it's such a lovely few hours out.

Lots of barges were moored at either side of the tow paths.  I always think barge dwellers must live such a gentle life. The spire you can see at the back of this picture is Cobb's Engine House referred to in the blurb above.
I love looking at the barge names.  My favourites today were 'Dreamweaver' and 'Granny Buttons'.

Speaking of dreamweaving.... or dream catching even - I treated myself to a beautiful dream catcher from one of the lovely little stalls there.  It's quite unusual with a printed canvas centrepiece featuring moon gazing hares surrounded by Celtic knotwork by Lisa Parker.   I was torn between the dream catcher or a printed canvas of the same picture.  I really couldn't decide so Charl chose for me!! lol

It's this one:

As I was lucky enough to get some cash for my birthday, I also purchased a new pentacle necklace.  It's very pretty with tiny amethyst coloured glass stones set between the points.

I usually wear a Peter Stone silver pentacle set against the tree of life. It's very rare I go out without it.  If it's not on my person then it's in my purse.  I bought this as it was symbolic to me at a very trying time of my life and I've worn it ever since.  I had a panic a few months ago when the chain broke and I thought the pendant was lost.  I circulated an all user email around work telling people to look out for it but to no avail.   I was really sad when I told Charl about it and he jokingly asked whether I'd checked my bra.  I gave a bit of sharp retort and thought no more about it... until I got undressed later that evening.  Yup, guess where it was?!!!   And imagine how red faced I was next day when colleagues asked me where I'd found it?! Sigh.

Ooh look.  I've digressed!!  Shocked aren't you?!!


Moving on.
Fab old truck beautifully renovated.

Wonder what they're chatting about?!

Yummy cupcakes for sale in one of the marquees . The very sweet (natch!) young stall holder was happy to let me snap her wares.  But no I didn't indulge!
Although I can appreciate the work which goes into them I can never understand the high cost of what is essentially a glorified fairy cake!
These ones were £1.20 each or 4 for £4.00.  Thanks - they're very pretty but... No thanks.  We indulged in rum n' raisin fudge instead!! 

Erm.   An Organ.    This was playing the Can Can as we walked past.  My Mum was a spoilsport and wouldn't dance with me!!

Ooh the kettle's on!!  I do love a good nosey!!

Eek!!!  Goose attack!
These geese hovered above for ages whilst I had my camera poised.
The heavens opened, I hastily put my camera away and guess what?
Yup - the buggers landed right in front of me!   PAH!!

Rain stopped play unfortunately - a torrential downpour happened upon us whilst we were drinking coffee, and my sausage sarnie got soaked.  How rude.

Hope your weekend was a good one!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Testing..... Testing.....

"Testing, testing. 

Testing testing testing now.

Just testing this.

Testing testing testing testing".

That's my boss that is.  Whenever he starts his dictation he HAS to say ^^^ that word up there.... LOTS  of times before he begins.  It. Does. Me. Flippin. Head. In!!  I once counted 17 "testings" on one tape.  Anyway..... as usual I is digressing!!  My apologies!!

I've been doing a bit o' testing of my own today - Of  the new camera of course.  I've used it mainly on manual setting but will check out the destructions very soon and see what it's capable of.   I took just some random photos so they're not particularly exciting I'm afraid.

Harvey the Hooligan pretending to look angelic and calm.    Pah!! is all I can say to that!!

Apple.   Hee hee not really - they're ripening holly berries on macro setting.  It was soooo windy today that the macro didn't work brilliantly as things kept dancing about.

Seed heads.

Ah it was glorious over the fields today.  Hot sunshine tempered by very strong breezes.  My perfect weather and just what was needed to blow the black dog away which has been crouching on my shoulders all week.

Pity I'd had my hair done just before we went walking - but hey, Ive heard that the birds nest look is in this season! Days like these always bring to mind one of my very favourite ever quotes.....

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."

Khalil Gibran

So beautiful....

You won't believe this - but I had to take this picture of some acorns on the camera's sports setting because on the normal automatic setting they were a complete blur!!  So these are the fastest acorns in the west!!

Happy weekend all xxx


Friday, 9 September 2011

44 - Droopy Drawers

Tis my birthday today. 

I be 44 years young.  44 - droopy drawers, in Bingo-Lingo!!   I am pleased to report, however, that my drawers are not droopy in the slightest.

Apparently I share my birthday with such luminaries as Tolstoy, Otis Redding, Adam Sandler and Hugh Grant.

Wow eh?

I've been very spoilt and..... joy of joys!! I have new camera!! Tis this baby!!

14.1 Mega pixels and a 15 x Optical Zoom. 

I'm in love!!!  Well - I would be if I knew what to do with it!!  Give me a month or two and I'll get the hang of it!!

So..... 44 eh?  Bliddy hell.  To coin a Black Country phrase, I'm older than a conker tree!

Just before I turned 40, I wrote a poem which I was lucky enough to get published in the Daily Mail, natch. 

Here it is:-

My Mid-Life Crisis

I think I might be having a crisis
A mid-life crisis at that
I’ve developed an overwhelming desire
To bed all the guys in Take That.

I want a tattoo on my shoulder
My kids’ names inked in hearts and swirls
My nose pierced with a single diamond
To sparkle when I go out with the girls.

I need an I-pod, a lap-top and a boom-box
A credit card with no charge to me!
And I hear that sat-nav comes as standard
In a brand new silver Audi TT.

I need over-the-knee boots and a hand-bag
From Dolce Gabanna , no less.
The waiting list for the new Nintendo DS
Has been causing me no END of stress

I think I might be having an epiphany
A dawning that something’s not right
When you’re my age you’re supposed to know better
Than to hang around on street corners at night

But the Nike trainers are great on me bunions
And my hoody top keeps out the chills
I’ve been down to the shops on my skateboard
Hey I know how to get my cheap thrills.

Don’t ‘diss’ me man, I’m still growin' up
I’m still allowed to be a little bit naughty
I’ve got a whole nine months worth of playing to do
Until I reach adulthood at forty.

Well I got the tattoo and the nose piercing at least!!  I'm rockin' my forties!!  Bring on another new year and all the possibilities it may hold.

Happy Friday night all - hope you're "rockin" too!! 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Billing and Cooing

These wood pigeons sit on the frame of my neighbours' trampoline every evening at around 6pm.  You can set your watch by them! They're so sweet - like a little old couple - and spend ages preening each other.

'Ere, give us a kiss!!

Oh go on.... I loves you I does!

No.  Shan't.  I'm playing hard to get.

Pleaaaase????  Just a little peck??

Sigh.  Oh go on then.  Just one mind!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful (Parte ye the Firste)

The house has been busy today with the comings and goings of family life.  I've been in the kitchen for most of the day.  I love it there.  It's small and untidy - much like the rest of Peapods - but like most houses, it's the hub of our home and I spend lots of time in it.  Today I took great comfort in being in our little house and took time revel in the joy of what we all take for granted from time to time.

From my kitchen I can see out into the garden and watch the chooks scratching around in their pen, clucking lovingly at the water melon quarter they've been treated to today;  the cats high up in their shed top eyries, keep a collective, disdainful eye on proceedings, safe from the Hooligan who rushes up and down, barking importantly at the dog walkers who pass by on the other side of the hedge. 

Music blares from at least three rooms of the house.  My children giggle and tease and bicker if they happen to pass each other en route to the bathroom or up and down the stairs.  They meander in, usually foraging in the fridge for food, and then meander off again; my hormonal daughter throws herself at me for cuddle.  Doors are constantly opening and shutting.   The smell of good wholesome home baking drifts through the house accompanying the smell from the scented candles which flicker on the mantlepiece. Harriet Honda roars into life, splutters pitifully and dies again - a process which has been repeated on about 375.2 occasions today (*rolls eyes*); Man potters in to re-charge the bike's battery, pouting in frustration,  seeking coffee and a hug. 

This is what it's all about.  A simple, non-descript Sunday to most, but my heart feels full and I feel truly blessed and deeply appreciative

Here are some more things that have made me cheerful today.

1.  It's not Monday

2.  My 'business' cards arrived yesterday - more about that very soon.

3.  I have two 'orders' already.  See above!!

4.  See below!!
A simple bunch of allotment flowers in my sunshine yellow vase

A bunch of knock-down carnations - cost 86p and have lasted for a week with no signs of deterioration yet!

Home baking - apple and blackberry oaty crumble; damson loaf; damson, blackberry and apple muffins.

Thank goodness I've managed to stone all of those damned damsons!!!

This little fella.   A trinket box spotted by my clever man yesterday at an otherwise carp car boot!

He has the sweetest little face.  Every time I look at him I smile.  £2 well spent I feel!

What made you smile today lovely bloglies?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Mixed Emotions

One of my very good friends had some awful news yesterday about her beloved Father.  He has been unwell for a short time; more of a feeling of "general malaise" rather than anything specific.  She had encouraged him to visit the medics and appointments had been attended for cameras, and biopsies and scans.  Yesterday they went for for a consultation about the results.  After so much investigation over a relatively short space of time, they had steeled themselves to expect a difficult diagnosis but one which could hopefully be overcome with surgery and treatment.  Instead the prognosis turns out to be very poor and he has been given weeks to live.  There will be no treatment apart from palliative care.  She and her Mother are understandably devastated.   My heart is breaking for her and I feel completely useless as there is nothing I, nor anyone else, can do but be there as her support network whenever she needs me/us. 

Conversely and on a more positive note, another good friend gave birth to a beautiful and much longed for baby boy in the early hours of this morning.   Welcome to the world, beautiful Baby C.  May all your dreams come true little one.